On July 17, 1918 the Romanov family of seven and their servants were murdered at this site in Yekaterinburg, Russia which was then the Ipatiev House. In later years, the Politburo and Premier Boris Yeltsin resisted the growing sacredness of the site and the pilgrims who visited the Ipatiev House and ordered it torn down in 1977. In its place, one of the largest churches in Russia, the Church on the Blood was erected. It opened in 2003/Patricia Leslie
This statue honors the memory of the Romanov children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei at Ganina Yama where the bodies of the children, their parents, and servants were thrown into a pit, 9.5 miles from the murder site/Patricia Leslie
Lily fields at the Ganina Yama pit where the Bolsheviks threw the bodies which they burned with acid for two days before moving them to their second graves, a field 4.5 miles away. When this picture was made 100 years after the family assassinations, large photographs of family members hung on the wooden walkway which surrounded the lily field. Above are two of the Romanov daughters. Every year at the Church of the Blood in Yekaterinburg, thousands gather for services on the anniversary of the murders and then walk four hours to the iron pit at Ganina Yama for more ceremony/Patricia Leslie
The lily field at Ganina Yama with Nicholas II pictured at far left/Patricia Leslie
Fearing the Whites would find the bodies, the Bolsheviks moved them 4.5 miles from Ganina Yama to a field across these railroad tracks, the second burial site. This site was discovered in the late 1970s and kept secret until the Russian government changed in 1989/Patricia Leslie
The second burial site of the Romanovs/Patricia Leslie
The entrance to the Chapel of St. Catherine the Martyr inside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Petersburg, the third and last burial site of the Romanovs/Patricia Leslie
The Chapel of St. Catherine the Martyr, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Petersburg, with the remains of the Romanovs and their servants, now saints of the Russian Orthodox Church/Patricia Leslie
At the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Petersburg/Patricia Leslie
It's as if a publisher ordered a writer to find the most negative research possible and turn it into a book, and that's exactly what Candace Fleming did with her 2014 The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia.
Fleming and her team found all things bad they could possibly locate about the Romanovs and then packed them into her book. Only when the family begins the last leg of their journey to Siberia and certain death, does Fleming show any sympathy and, maybe a little remorse, over the outcome.
She describes the five children as "young savages" whose parents cared little about their children's education (not true). She ridicules an eight-year-old's behavior (show me a perfect eight-year-old), and the grammar of a 13-year-old. Tsk, tsk.
From criticizing the children to sneering at the family's pets, clothing, languages, childcare, schooling and illnesses, Fleming goes overboard to paint the family as n'er do wells, dilettantes with nothing more to do than smoke (Nicholas), frown and lay around (Alexandra), ignore their offspring and fail to keep up with their studies (the children). (I suppose Fleming has never been a parent.)
What was good about the Romanovs? Oh, yes, the women played nursemaid during the War.
Even the speaker's condescending attitude makes its way onto the pages while she reads the book, no doubt given instruction to read in a haughty manner. She succeeds!
Designed to influence young readers, it's no wonder adults are not Fleming's market since anyone with a smidgen of Romanov knowledge would quickly recognize this portrayal as a lopsided, petty picture of a family sacrificed on the altar of politics.
On her website Fleming carries a trailer for the book which makes light of the family and their plight, accompanied by whimsical music.
Hundreds of books have been written about the family and this sad chapter of Russian history which elicit our sympathy and attempt to understand rather than ridicule. Who else does this? It may be the first time Fleming has been compared to Trump.